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tv   [untitled]    August 25, 2011 6:00am-6:30am PDT

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what he was saying about the spirit of cooperation from the police department, other agencies, community. we cannot arrest our way out of crime. if you look at these numbers, violent crime arrests are actually down. partnership with other agencies, the spirit of collegiality, really, an atmosphere of cooperation. when i asked 60% of officers to move to weekend and night, they were willing to do that. we work out a contract negotiation that would help to close a $12 million budget gap, the corporation was there. everyone understands how serious things are right now with diminishing resources. we have about 4% mustaf than last year but we continue to have crime lows. that is because the her using
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the force multiplier of goodwill within the city department, police department, and the community. and i cannot say this enough. it is all about the young people in san francisco. if we engage kids, give them positive choices, there is no reason why this cannot become the new normal in san francisco where we are just a safer city. again, i appreciate the mayor's support, going forward. >> [inaudible] are we not facing a crisis of a loss of officers? >> i do not think it is lost on anybody. the mayor and i talk about all the time. we have had a 4% decrease in staffing, but staffing is up in other areas. the 35 officers that were not
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working nights and weekends are now. that is akin to an academy class. more efficient and one of the resources we have will hopefully get us to the point where we are hiring more academy classes as the senior officers retire. that will bring new ideas and greater efficiency and a safer san francisco going forward. >> i would also say, the police officers to police work. when the chief graduated one of the largest cadet class is in recent history, we are talking about civilians doing the civilian work while the police are out there giving the police work. we are identifying those activities within the police department that should not be done by uniformed officers, and assigning those to the right people. so we are just approaching resources the smartest way we can while we try to get more
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police academy classis. -- classes. >> you talked about a game can? -- gang camp? [inaudible] >> about three months ago, i walked through the mission district with jane kim and david campos. this was after that shooting in the mission. we were walking along with officers in the district, just watching the streets, -- walking the streets, talking to merchants. we got an eyeful and an earful of these kids hanging out on the corners with nothing to do. people said the city has come out to come up with better programs to track these youth. they are listening to the people on the streets trying to recruit
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them. we know that they are interested player from getting in ties into these gangs. we particularly listened to the community response network, the people that are in touch with these gangs. we have a program where they are helping police officers get information on what is going on. they recommended that we create an annual camp, where for free, about 50 kids -- and we may increase down the road -- will get a full camp experience. kids across whole arena of san francisco get these weeks where they go to camp and have a wonderful time. some kids do not get a chance because they cannot afford it, no one is enticing them. they see that and a bang, that is not my life.
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my life is on the street. we need to integrate this live with them till ginsberg went out there to work with us. our friends at the family and children youth center that got the funding together. it begins at the end of the month for one week. we are recruiting literally those individuals -- we cannot get to the hard-core gangs, but we can get to those that are about to make a decision. they are true, on the edge with their grades, and we again be back. they can give as name referrals of kids that we can talk to. that we will be leadership development week at the camp. expos them to some fun. they may see some other people that may even be recruited by gangs that they do not like, groups of people they do not like.
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to be able to experience them on a first name basis, i got to know you before, you are a cool person. we did some things together that is positive. experience what normal kids get to do everyday, except that they do not have it because of economics or cultural difference walls, or the wall themselves off because they are being recruited by other efforts. we are experimenting with this for the first time. we think we are going to receive a lot of excess -- success from this. >> quickly, as the mayor said, we are claiming -- it is not a game camp. we are claiming the skin before they enter a gang. we are claiming them first to give them a positive choice. >> [inaudible] >> with regard to the metal
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death, this is an epidemic nationally. this is something that i dealt with at the puc. and it is dangerous. a lot of these folks, as they go for that copper, it is charged copper. it is a safety thing. it is a miracle that nobody has been hurt or killed. i met with members of the puc last week. we spoke to the acting director of the dpw who is affected by this, corporate security from pg&e. we will be assembling a task force within the next 30 days to attack this going forward. people are taking out manhole covers and leaving by whole -- the hole. i know that one school was affected over the summer months. i know when the east bay terminal came down, that was
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scavenged. we will be working with the district attorney's office to gain successful prosecution. >> hi, everybody. my name is carmen chu. why don't we get started. with a marking up with the department of small business -- we have been working with the department of small business. this project started when we heard from neighborhood merchants.
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unfortunately, they had access issues, visibility access issues. we have been working closely with many of our partners year today to educate about these -- many of our partners year today to educate about these issues. also in terms of board guidance. i want to thank all of you for coming. many of you may have assistance. i know many merchants could not be here. please do it share this information with other merchants in the area. we have virginia from the office of small business. we have roger from the bar association. no carla johnson from the office of disability. -- we have carla johnson from the office of disability.
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i want to especially it acknowledge my colleague to help us get the resources and brought legal expertise to the table. i do not want to take too much of your time. thank you for coming. >> thank you, supervisor chu. i want to express my admiration for a supervisor chu's commitment to you. so, from our office, what we heard, many small businesses were receiving lawsuits regarding it the ada. tonight we will hear about the legal requirements, what has been in place. any small businesses that nderst
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informed as far as their obligations for the ada, there are the mechanisms to provide that information to you. so, we are tasked with providing the information. there have been about 300 small businesses that have received the lawsuits. knee individuals who use this mechanism and come up -- the individual to use this mechanism. while it is important to have ada access, but we want you to understand there are individuals out there taking a look at your vulnerability. we have a packet of information for you tonight. we have it in english and chinese. we have a quick summary of the laws. the ada, calif. building code,
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the civil rights, and our experts here will elaborate. we also have a list of certified caps at work in san francisco for you. carla johnson with the mayor's office of disability has created a really good it died of out to interview your experts to make sure you are getting the best quality product for you. been next -- the money you pay for the inspection you can take as a tax deduction. any money that if you have taken can be applied as a tax
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deduction. this can be done on an annual basis. next, the opportunity, and a fund -- opportunity loan fund, providing for small businesses to pay for the inspection or to make improvements needed. to do it before you receive the lawsuit. and lastly, we of the bar association and their resources. they're providing their legal service for you. this last thing i am going to share with you in terms of what we have seen in our office is that with the individuals, that does not necessarily mean an individual will follow up with a lawsuit.
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what we've seen in our office is the individual's will send you a letter and say there were compile -- compliance issues. where people get in trouble is they ignore the letter. we need to make sure it that your pro-active and responsive. when a business receives a letter, they need to contact our office. the merchants of been very proactive -- have been very pro- active. the businesses that have received a letter and passed an inspection after receiving the letter have staved off a lawsuit. the cap inspection is a very
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good risk management tool. often it is not as durable as you may think it to be. our office is there for you as our resources. we are able to provide our services, follow-up questions in english, spanish, cantonese, and mandarin. and then -- and then, roger, you will -- >> yes. i am an attorney in private practice. the laws in this area are strict
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compliance laws, and they are very specific. the federal law since 1990 indicates issues from 1998. all businesses, such as a grocery store, a dentist's office, restaurants, a doctor's office, virtually anything that a member of the public comes into the -- comes into needs to be a barrier-free. we will go over what barriers are. every public accommodation needs to be wheelchair-accessible. there are also other other forf disability. most of the issues we are hearing about are wheelchair accessibility issues. there is a small group of
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private individuals who are wheelchair-down that go around the city and they look at small businesses. and i dare say anybody in small restaurants have some accessibility issues. it is another attempt at making your building wheelchair accessible. i am not sure which of you may be merchants and which it may be landlords. the law applies to both. and that means you were 100% liable for any barriers to access and any damages that may be associated with those barriers. there are ways you can defend yourself.
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with your landlord or at senate -- or a tenant, this can avoid a lot of problems later on. the inspections offer a limited attempt at bringing a civil action for damages. it does not affect the ability to bring damage claims under the symbol laws. however, most lawyers -- they will not pursue the case. so, oftentimes, it works it to stop the lawsuit before it starts if you do that inspection. they are not particularly expensive. so, it is something someone would want to do. you will get a tax credit.
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if you need to make changes in the structure of your premises, there are also tax credits for that. most of these cases start with a letter. a demand letter. that is usually signed not by a lawyer, but by it up plaintive. the plaintiff may not be a professional plaintiff. that does not make any difference. the defense has been tried in court. is a civil rights statute. -- it is a civil rights statute. they can be a perfectly legitimate plaintiffs to bring a lawsuit, and there are a number of people who belong to
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disability organizations that actually, that is what their livelihood is, bringing these lawsuits. the gentleman over here, who was also a lawyer knows of at least one case involving two lawsuits. they started all neighborhoods. the target places like san francisco because this is an old city with old buildings, virtually none of which comply. we only have new construction that would be billed to 1988 compliance standards, usually. whatever kind of business you have, the building part does not enforce ada compliance. you have your architect look at the ada if you are going to make
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a major revision anyway. is very expensive to do that. the demand letter is a requirment for the state -- is a requirement for the state laws to be brought. for civil rights cases, you are expected to know the law and be in compliance. they do not make a demand under federal law saying they should ask you for damages. and the damages could be substantial. the damages are based on the number of barriers encountered by the person when they're going to inspect the premises. these people will come and visit your business barack, three, or four times.
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they will sit at the counter if you have a counter. they will sit at a table. that are well aware of what the legal requirements are of the height of the table and the length of the legs, whether the bathroom is compliance, whether there is appropriate sign it. the first barrier is access to the premises itself. adding is? . -- adding steps. having a ramp that is too steep is an access issue. there are ways to deal with those. having a power door or something of that nature. of power door -- you have seen those with the wheelchair symbol on it. it will open the door.
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the person on the wheelchair does not have to try to wrestle with the door to get in. it is much more immediate access if you of something like that. that is the first barrier to someone, if they are entering a business premises. the next issue is usually in bathrooms. a lot * -- a lot of times, but is difficult to comply with depending on the size of the establishment. to make a wheelchair-accessible bathroom, it takes a lot more space than a regular bathroom. so, it is a problem oftentimes with small businesses. especially if you have to do two of them. and it cost about $15,000 to
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$25,000 to build a wheelchair- accessible bathroom. for restaurants, bars, it's a truck, there is an issue on the height of the counters -- for restaurants, bars, at such wreck, there is an issue on the height of the counters. that keller would make the person wheeling up on in the chair not be able to be eye level. you cannot have it like that. you have to have a portion of the counter down level. it is 34 inches. i daresay most of the counters will not be that size if you have a business like that. however it may be.
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that is not what the normal business layout is. tables. there is a percentage based on the number of seats that have to be wheelchair-a accessible. they are required to be appropriately designated with a placard. you can get that any press run supply store. in place with commercial interiors can furnish you with those placards. you also have to have a sign out front that your business is wheelchair accessible. and various signing issues. each one of those things you do not have if someone must use to you is a separate claim. the statutory damages are $4,000. a person can come back three times and see three different wheelchair-accessibility issues, that is nine claims.
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the attorneys' fees are only recoverable -- only the plaintiff has the ability to get the attorneys' fees. if you fight a lawsuit and win, you do not get attorneys' fees. is a one-sided statute. the policy is to promote access. one of the issues for a merchant to look at is your least. virtually every commercial lease, what ever the business maybe come up switches to the tenants all responsibility for code compliance. what that means is coming you have to indemnify the landlord on the insurance or the least, or any money that the landlord
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may have a. clearly, the landlord -- the lease does not stop the plaintiff from suing the landlord. therefore, the attorney for the plaintiff is going to target the person they are getting the money from. it does not let the tenant of the hot. the tenants in their lease is contractually responsible to the landlord. there are ways that can be dealt with between the landlord and the tenant. i have represented landlords. i have represented tenants. at some point, i represented both because they have a common interest even in that. obviously, they both have to make the space accessible either now or later, so it is best that they work together if they can.
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and work together to save us -- to hire a single lawyer. they can make repairs or what ever is in their agreement. sometimes, when the tenant is the small business and does not have much cash flow, one way to do is to renegotiate the lease, where the cost is amortized over a longer period time. it is another way to spread the payments back to the less financially available person. would you do if you get one of these notices? if you have not had your property inspected already, or if you do not do it following this program -- which i recommend you do -- you should have an inspection by an architect who is familiar with ada issues. we call all of these laws ada, but really ada is one aspect of
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the federal laws. there are five or six statutes, depending on the specifics of the case. there are a series of overlapping laws, all of which require essentially the same thing. did different measures of damages and other things. the lawyers will sue you on these various labels. they all really say the same thing. the purpose of that letter is to establish damages. the first thing to do when you get that letter is to have your place it inspected. if you have done so, let the person know that you have had the place inspected. that makes the case go away.

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